Thigh Gap: Dangerous Weight Loss Trend
A thigh gap is a space between your inner thighs when you stand with your feet
together. Although many women consider an inner-thigh gap an attractive and
coveted feature, serious health problems can arise if you try to achieve a thigh
gap by not eating or by over-exercising. If you do choose to use some strategies
mentioned in this tutorial, remember to do them responsibly and carefully. Your
health is your strongest asset.
Understand that a thigh gap is not physically possible for most people.
A thigh gap as wide as a supermodel's is not normal by any means. While many
women—and men—could stand to lose a little leg fat, some will never see a wide
gap between their thighs even after shedding excess pounds.
Genetics and body structure play the biggest role in whether you can gain a
thigh gap. Simply put, most women have hips that are set too closely together
for there to be a large gap between their thighs, even with very little fat on
their legs. If you have wider set hips, however, a thigh cap might actually be
possible while maintaining a healthy overall weight.
Set realistic expectations.
Dieting and exercise will not give you a thigh gap overnight — it is a long-term
lifestyle change, not a quick fix. Physical results could take as long as three
to four weeks to start showing. Even then, some girls' genetics keep them from
achieving a thigh gap, no matter how skinny they are. Whatever the case, it is
not healthy to achieve a thigh gap by skipping meals or by exerting yourself to
Stay motivated by noticing the ways in which a healthy diet makes you feel
better, instead of simply looking better. You might have more energy, or notice
that your clothes fit in a more flattering way. It may not be what you wanted,
but learning to be happy with who you are is a skill you will need to develop
whoever you are.
Don't let a thigh gap become your obsession.
Getting a thigh gap has become the Holy Grail for some. They need it or they
feel inadequate. In serious cases, people focus on it so much that they begin to
lose perspective about other important things in life, like health or
maintaining social relationships. A troubling number of teens and young girls
are treating a thigh gap in an unhealthy way, fasting and possibly developing
eating disorders. Don't let the prospect of a thigh gap make or break you. Your
thighs do not say anything about you. Do not let anyone tell you what they do.
Ask for help if you think that your quest for a thigh gap is turning
If you are after a thigh gap, but the only way you feel you can get there is
starving your body of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy, please ask for
help. Anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders are serious to your physical
health and mental wellbeing.
Especially during your teen years, not getting enough food can have serious
health consequences. It affects brain development, heart function, and even
reproductive health in a bad way. A killer body for a dead brain — is it worth
Pay attention to these signs that your eating may be turning into a disorder. Do
you feel powerful when you skip meals? Do you lie about how much you eat? Are
you deathly afraid of gaining weight? Is your self-worth primarily derived from
your body weight? If you've answered "yes" to any of these questions, see a
medical professional or talk to someone who can help you right away
Know that some girls never achieve thigh gap because of their genetics.
If your hips are set wide, you're more likely to be able to get a thigh gap. If
you happen to be one of the many girls whose hips aren't set wide, exercising or
diet truthfully won't help all that much. It is just a fact. Although exercise
and diet do have an effect on your thigh gap, it is not as pronounced as
genetics, and bone structure do.
If you do decide to achieve a thigh gap, use a combination of healthy dieting
Try to slowly chip away at any excess weight through a combination of diet and
exercise until you hit your doctor-recommended BMI. If you still have not gotten
a thigh gap, it may not be possible given your genes and bone structure.
Even with exercise, it's impossible to target just one area on your body, such
as your thighs. This myth is called spot training. Targeted training, say in
your thigh area, does work, by taking flab and turning it into muscle, but
you'll also be losing flab in other areas as well. You cannot tell your body to
burn fat from a particular area on your body just by working it out.
Dieting the Healthy Way
Remove junk food.
of restricting your intake, try focusing on eating healthy items that fuel your
body (and do not satisfy your sweet tooth). Consider cleaning these items out of
Trans-fats: These sneaky fats contribute to heart disease and high cholesterol,
and are abundant in fast food, processed snack foods (such as potato chips),
fried food and shortening or margarine. If you are not sure, check out the
Sugar: Processed sugar packs many calories without much nutritional benefit. Do
not use artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame or saccharine in your
beverages, as some recent studies have shown possible dangerous side effects of
these products. Instead, try substituting unsweetened applesauce for sugar in
Fill up on fiber.
Not only is fiber good for you, it takes a while to digest and will fill up more
space in your stomach, resulting in feeling less hungry.
Try these sources:
Fruits and vegetables: Common choices include celery, apples, spinach,
cabbage, berries, carrots, pears and oranges (and many others!).
Whole grains: Reach for brown grains instead of white ones:
whole-wheat bread, brown rice, wheat tortillas, and wheat pasta.
Eat nuts and beans. Try black beans, almonds, pistachios, pecans and
Include some superfoods into your diet.
“Superfoods” are foods that supposedly require your body to burn more calories
to digest than the foods themselves contain. The jury is still out regarding the
effectiveness of superfoods regarding weight loss, but many of these foods are
part of a healthy diet, anyway, so you do not have much to lose by choosing them
over other higher calorie alternatives.
Superfoods that might be worth adding to your diet include:
Apples, goji berries, blueberries, and pomegranates
Eggs, lentils, almond butter, salmon, and sardines
Oats, buckwheat pasta, and quinoa
Kale, chiles, tarragon, and avocado
Low-fat plain yogurt, and parmesan cheese
If you are eating a healthy diet, but still feel like you are not quite where
you would like to be, review what you are consuming every day. Even small
restrictions, like eating 200 fewer calories per day, can lead to safe, gradual
Keep a food diary. You can write it down the old-fashioned way and look up
calories online, or use an app like MyFitnessPal or Spark People. Whatever you
choose, try to be consistent.
Figure out your basal metabolic rate (BMR). This will tell you how many calories
per day you burn simply by existing. To lose weight at a safe pace, try cutting
back your diet to 200 or 300 calories less than your BMR.
For more help, see How to Calculate How Many Calories You Need to Eat to Lose
Move past mistakes. If you give in to temptation, do not be discouraged!
Everyone slips up once in awhile. Simply resolve to get back to your healthy
Toning Your Thighs
Try butterfly stretches.
Sit down on the floor, with your back straight and upright. Bend your knees
outward, and put the soles of your feet together. Draw your feet as close to
your pelvis as you can without straining, and try to lower your thighs so they
are parallel to the ground. Hold for five to 10 seconds.
You might need to hold your feet with your hands to do this stretch. That's OK!
Be gentle. You may have seen people doing this stretch by flapping their
knees vigorously up and down, like butterfly wings, but that is a quick way to
injure yourself. Instead, aim to keep your movements slow and precise.
Do a butterfly stretch before you start working out your thighs — it'll help
loosen them up and prevent muscle tears.
Do Pilates leg lifts.
Lie down on your left side, with your head either resting on your left
arm or supported by your left hand. Bend your right knee, and lift it over
your left leg so your right shin is resting on the floor. Keep your left leg
straight as you breathe out and lift a few inches, and then inhale as you
lower it. Do three sets of 10 repetitions on each side.
Try to keep your torso as straight and still as possible as you lift
Move slowly. You will notice the slower your movements are, the more
they will work your thighs.
If you have a back injury, clear this exercise with your doctor before
Do inner-thigh presses.
You can do this exercise sitting at your desk, or try a more
complicated version on the floor:
Sitting press: Sit up straight in your chair, with your back straight and
your abs pulled in. Place a towel, pillow, or other small object between
your knees. Squeeze it between your knees as tightly as you can, and hold
for a few seconds. Do 20 repetitions.
Bridge press: Lie down on your back, with your knees bent and
your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart. Put something like a pillow,
towel, or other soft object between your knees. Lift your pelvis until you
are in bridge position (that is, the line running from the back of your
knees to your shoulders is as straight as possible), and squeeze the object
between your knees as tightly as you can. Do 20 repetitions before lowering
yourself back to the ground.
Get aerobic exercise.
You should aim to get 30 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic
exercise at least 3 days a week. Not only will these exercises keep you
healthy and help you slim down, they will also tone up your legs in the
Running, walking briskly, climbing stairs, biking, swimming, and
dancing can all help you slim down your legs.
Find an exercise that you enjoy and stick with it. If you enjoy your
workout, you will be more likely to do it regularly.
Avoid exercises that bulk up your legs.
These include squats, lunges, leg curls, and calf raises, among
others. While these exercises are great for building muscle and toning up,
they will not slim your legs down or help you achieve a thigh gap.
You don't have to avoid these exercises, but do them in moderation.
Focus instead on cardio exercises that work your entire body.
Making Thighs Look Slimmer with Cosmetic Tricks
Slip on shapewear.
If you need a thigh gap by tonight, then your best option is to try on
Your best options are a good pair of tights with a control top and a snug body
shaper. Make sure that any body shaper you buy extends far enough down to cover
the entire thigh.
Try an anti-cellulite cream.
These creams and cosmetic ointments claim to get rid of unwanted cellulite with
consistent application. Since much thigh fat tends to be cellulite, some
products could potentially prove helpful.
Many of these creams contain caffeine. Caffeine stimulates blood flow and may
help burn off cellulite, so applying an anti-cellulite cream with caffeine in it
to your thighs might help reduce any cellulite clinging to that area of your
Consider dry body brushing.
This process involves brushing your thighs with a specialized brush to
stimulate blood flow and speed up fat loss.
Use a special dry brush designed for this technique. These brushes are
available from many health and beauty stores. Do not use a standard
Dry brushing helps exfoliate dead skin and, theoretically, improves
circulation while tightening your skin.
Create the illusion of toned legs with self-tanner.
While self-tanner may not be able to give you a thigh gap, if you need to show
off your legs in a swimsuit or mini-skirt, you can use self-tanner to create the
illusion of slimmer thighs and toner legs.
Spray a self-tanner or bronzer over your legs from top to bottom. You might be
tempted to only apply the tanner to your thighs to create the illusion of
shadows, but the difference in hue between your thighs and calves will usually
look unnatural, so you'll need to cover the entire leg.
Understanding Hormonal Fixes
Wait out puberty. The surest way to a thigh gap, regardless of weight, is
widened hips. If you're not quite through puberty, it's possible that your
pelvis simply isn't wide enough yet. Most girls finish developing around the age
of 16 or 17, but puberty can continue into the later teens in some cases. Try to
Don't resort to starving. Puberty involves much growth and change, and you need
plenty of nutrients and calories to pull it off. If you deprive yourself, you
will stunt the development of your figure.
Accept that puberty takes years, not months. You might have a sudden growth
spurt over a summer, but the physical transition from childhood to adulthood
takes years. Try not to be discouraged if your development is taking longer than
other girls you know.
Know when to see a doctor.
If you are 15 and have not menstruated yet, consider seeing a gynecologist . You
might have another health condition that's delaying puberty.
If you suspect that your hormones are seriously out of balance, make an
appointment with a gynecologist or reproductive endocrinologist. A simple blood
test can tell you a lot about what is wrong, and your doctor can prescribe the
appropriate medications from there.
Young women struggling with body image and weight loss concerns have a new issue
to grapple with - the "thigh gap." The term refers to the space between a
woman's thighs when they stand with their feet touching. And it's gaining
popularity among college age women. In comparison to its predecessor - the
skinny arm - the thigh gap represents a dangerously elusive goal. Some health
officials say it may be impossible for many women to achieve.
"Most women's hip bones are too close together to allow their thighs to not
touch," says Dr. Joanne Clinch, clinical director of Student Health Services at
Wake Forest University. "Just like you cannot change your height, you cannot
alter your hip structure."
Some women, based on genetics, do have hip bone structure that puts their thigh
bones farther apart, which creates more space between their thighs. This is seen
in exceptionally skinny models, which are often the idols of "thinspiration"
The prevalence of thinspiration blogs is what drove Kelly Kulty, a junior at
Fordham University, to extreme weight loss techniques in high school. These
blogs inspired her to start on the "ABC diet" - which restricts caloric intake
to 500 calories a day or less.
"The thigh gap goal is more prevalent than people think," says Kulty, whose
anorexia led to binge eating, as well. Although Kulty overcame her eating
disorder by her senior year, she says she sees girls who suffer from the same
thoughts she once did. "It's sickening that beautiful 18 year-old girls with
nice curves are comparing themselves to 13 year-olds that are nothing but skin
and bones," Kulty says.
"It can be a struggle for these patients to change their relationship with their
body," Clinch says. "Part of treatment includes counseling about
self-acceptance, challenging unrealistic expectations and helping patients to
see their body as others see them." Many organizations are fighting on this
thigh gap trend on college campuses across the country.
This week marks Tri Delta's Fat Talk Free Week, an international, five-day body
activism campaign to draw attention to body image issues and the damaging impact
of the "thin ideal." Acacia Montemayor, a senior at the University of
California-Davis and a body image ambassador for Tri Delta, recently wrote about
the thigh gap trend. "The thigh gap is another gateway that society is utilizing
to influence an unhealthy body image into the minds of young women," Montemayor
wrote. She cites Beyonce as an example of beauty whose thighs touch. Montemayor
suggested that young women put too much stock in online media. "By relinquishing
the power social media has over our day-to-day lives we will become one step
closer to a blissful life full of acceptance and gratitude," Montemayor wrote.
"Thigh gap" is exactly what it sounds like: a pronounced space between the
thighs when a woman is standing with her feet together or sitting with knees
touching. While it’s certainly not a new phenomenon -- runway models have been
sporting thigh gaps for years -- the trend has recently gained steam online,
with commenters praising the look despite the health risks and nearly
In fact, it’s a look coveted by some teen girls and young women and hailed as
the ultimate extreme-weight-loss achievement. Those who yearn for thigh gap have
taken to Tumblr, Pinterest and other blogs, posting photos of super-skinny
models -- like supermodel Cara Delevingne, who inspired the Twitter account @CarasThighGap
-- anorexic women and, as the New York Post noted, even victims of the Holocaust
for “motivational purposes.”
One famous model is opening up about the dangers of “thigh gap” and why it's
unrealistic. On Monday, “plus-size” model Robyn Lawley penned a column for The
Daily Beast lamenting the trend she’s seen since she started working in fashion
at age 12. The Australian-born model, whose measurements are 36D-32-42, was
inspired to write the column after an unretouched photo of her in lingerie
emerged on a “pro thigh gap” Facebook page, where critics called her too “hefty”
to be featured.
Lawley wrote: “The truth is I couldn’t care less about needing a supposed
‘thigh gap.’ It’s just another tool of manipulation that other people are trying
to use to keep me from loving my body. Why would I want to starve and weaken my
natural body size? … I’ve been trying to do just the opposite: I want my thighs
to be bigger and stronger. I want to run faster and swim longer. I suppose we
all just want different things, but women have enough pressure as it is without
the added burden of achieving a ‘thigh gap.’”
Of course, the trend is dangerous because it can lead to an eating disorder,
according to experts. But the online phenomenon has brought the unhealthy trend
to a whole other level. Claire Mysko of the National Eating Disorders
Association told The New York Post that “exposure to online images of extreme
beauty standards and the drive to compare does increase the risk of developing
“What is new is these things have taken on a life of their own because of the
Internet and social media,” she said.
Not only is it dangerous to attempt achieving a thigh gap, which can lead to an
eating disorder, it may not be genetically possible for some. Orthopedic surgeon
and fitness expert Dr. Vonda Wright told The Post it’s all about genetics and
“even extraordinarily thin people may not have a body type that can achieve a
gap.” She added that a person must be naturally skinny and “wide-hipped” to have
a thigh gap, as well as limited leg muscle.
Continuing her fight against unhealthy body image ideals, plus-size model Robyn
Lawley spoke about the 'thigh gap' trend, which demands legs so thin that they
do not touch above the knees, on the Today show this morning.
The 24-year-old, who has modeled for Ralph Lauren and Vogue, admitted she is
disturbed by how
online users are posting pictures of thigh gaps to be used as inspiration for
weight loss and dieting.
'There's so many blogs and Instagram accounts and Facebook pages dedicated to
the thigh gap,' she said. 'So many women of all ages comment directly about how
much they want this thigh gap and need this thigh gap. It blows my mind.'
After an image of Miss Lawley appeared on a pro 'thigh gap' Facebook page, where
she is bending forward with a gap seen between her thighs, the model said she
was saddened not only by the page itself, but by the response of users.
'90per cent of the comments were extremely derogatory and painful to read. I got
called "pig," "hefty," and "too fat" -- and I'm a normal girl.
'I'm a normal size and to be called too big and too hefty because my thigh gap
wasn't big enough, that was a horrible experience.'
The model, who said is a size 12 naturally because she 'loves food' (she also
runs a food blog and has a cookbook coming out next year), decided to weigh in
on the topic after 900 comments that picked apart her body.
She wrote on the offending Facebook post: 'You sit behind a computer screen
objectifying my body, judging it and insulting it, without even knowing it.'
In a personal essay for The Daily Beast published yesterday, Miss Lawley
expressed her dismay at the thought of having to change her entire frame 'just
to achieve something that seems so trivial.'
'I’ve been trying to do just the opposite,' she explained. 'I want my thighs to
be bigger and stronger. I want to run faster and swim longer. I suppose we all
just want different things, but women have enough pressure as it is without the
added burden of achieving a “thigh gap."'
Then she added: 'The last thing I would want for my future daughter would be to
starve herself because she thought a “thigh gap” was necessary to be deemed
Dated 31 October 2013